Mopar Racing–Pair of Runner-up Finishes for Mopar at NHRA New England Nationals

Pair of Runner-up Finishes for Mopar at NHRA New England Nationals

Tommy Johnson Jr. takes the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car from No.1 qualifier to a runner-up result at 3rd Annual NHRA New England Nationals
This is the ninth time in ten national events that the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T has advanced to a final elimination round since it was introduced to Funny Car competition
Allen Johnson drives “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart to second final round appearance in the last two national events
Both Mopar drivers jump into the top-five in the points standings for their respective categories

Epping, New Hampshire (Sunday, June 14, 2015) – It might not have ended with a win, but it was a pretty productive race day at New England Dragway if you drove a Mopar and your last name was Johnson. The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Make-A-Wish 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car of Tommy Johnson Jr. drove from a No.1 qualifier position to a runner-up finish at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) New England Nationals, while Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson took his “Magneti Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart to a second final elimination round in as many weeks. With the results, both Mopar drivers also jumped into the fifth place spot in the points standings for their respect categories.

Tommy Johnson Jr. earned round wins against Bob Tasca III, Alexis DeJoria and Courtney Force to advance to his first final round appearance of the season. It is also the ninth time in ten national events that the new 2015 Mopar Dodge Charger R/T has done so since being introduced to Funny Car competition this season following a year of extensive designing, building and testing. The DSR driver’s adversary for the championship round was John Force, and while Johnson Jr. had the starting line advantage, he had to settle for a runner-up finish with a 4.195/304.25 lap to his opponent’s 4.160/309.49.

“We had a great racecar all weekend,” said Johnson Jr., who moved into fifth spot in the Funny Car standings. “I felt really confident that we could continue that. I felt really good about our chances going into the final, but we had a mechanical issue, and that cost us. It ran a 4.19, but our Make-A-Wish Dodge was set up to run a 4.10 or 4.12. It’s frustrating that we had such a good car and then had something like that bite us in the final, but overall, it was a really good weekend for our team. Hopefully we can continue this. I think we’re on to something.”

After posting his third win of the season with the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T last weekend at the NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown, New Jersey, Matt Hagan took on and beat teammate Jack Beckman in the opening round, then saw his day come to an end in the quarterfinals against rival Force. The good news is that the defending world champion extended his lead in the standings to 61 points ahead of second place position held by his DSR teammate Ron Capps.

Last year’s winner at New England Dragway, Capps endured a loss in the first round against Alexis DeJoria.

Winner of the inaugural NHRA New England Nationals in the Pro Stock class two years ago, Allen Johnson came close to being the first repeat victor at New England Dragway. After a rough start to the season, hampered by issues brought on by a change in fuel and tires for the category, Johnson and his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart finally seem to have made some good headway with a solid showing in the first two of three consecutive nationals events.

From his eighth place position on the ladder, Johnson defeated Larry Morgan, Chris McGaha and Erica Enders-Stevens to advance to a second consecutive final round appearance and a rematch of last week’s showdown against Greg Anderson in Englishtown, New Jersey. While the Mopar driver had the better reaction time (0.024 sec to 0.032 sec), his 6.530-second elapsed time run at 213.50 mph wasn’t quite enough to beat his opponent’s 6.512-second pass with the top speed of the meet at 214.72 mph.

“The Mopar team has done such a great job to overcome challenges and frustration and just keep plugging away and it’s finally starting to pay off,” said Johnson, who made a significant jump from tenth in the points standings two weeks ago into the top-five for the first time this season. “We just kept digging with every run and we’re getting closer. It’s got us looking even more forward to the next race at home.”

The results are especially welcome because Johnson and his Mopar crew prepare to head to their home track of Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tennessee, next weekend. It’s where he and his father Roy Johnson are still working towards their first trip to the Pro Stock winner’s circle in front of family and friends on Father’s Day.

From his 13th seeded spot, V. Gaines and his Dodge Dart fell in the first round against Erica Enders-Stevens, while the HEMI-powered Dodge Avenger of Alan Prusiensky also saw his day cut short in the opening round against Jason Line.

Mopar teams and drivers will contest their third event in consecutive weeks coming up at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, the 11th of 24 events on the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, at Bristol Dragway on June 19-21.